The holiday of Sukkot arrived, with it the first (kind of) rain over the Land of Israel, and here is my traditional holidays posting.
Jews are considered, right or wrong, quite a musical people. I have dealt in past postings with different aspects of Jewish music and musicians, from the traditional instruments and traditional music played at the Jewish holidays to the contemporary Israeli music. Let me introduce you today to another subject, which is ‘Jewish rockers’ or ….
… in the words of the Jewish Museum in Milwaukee ‘Jews Who Rock’ which was the name of an exhibition organized at the museum this year. Jews are (they say, as they do not know me) talented musicians. They also tend to rebel and join and some even lead protest or even revolutionary movements. So it is only natural to find Jews among the rockers. We all know the big names, Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Barbra Streisand, solo singers who are Jewish, or were born Jewish, or are of Jewish descent. Now I will deal with Jewish musicians who were or are playing of rock bands. You may know some of them, and you may discover some.
Gene Simmons is one of the several Jewish musicians in Kiss, the American hard rock band formed in 1973 and still active. He was born in 1949 in Haifa, Israel as Chaim Witz, the son of Holocaust survivors. Here he is in a memorable bass solo.
Original rhythm guitarist and vocalist for Kiss, Paul Stanley was born Stanley Harvey Eisen in 1952. He told Tom Snyder in 1979 that when growing up, he was the only Jewish kid in an all Irish neighborhood. ‘Tonight You Belong To Me’ is one of their well known musical pieces.
T-Rex lead singer and guitarist Marc Bolan was born Mark Feld, son of a Polish Jew who settled in England. The group was extremely popular at the end of the 60s and the beginning of the 70s, but their popularity decreased by the mid-70s, and the group split after Bolan died in a car accident in 1977.
Dire Straits was formed the year Bolan died and T-Rex disbanded by Mark Knopfler and his brother David. They were raised in Scotland and their father Erwin Knopfler was a Hungarian Jew who flew the Nazis in 1939. Here you can see Dire Straits performing ‘Tunnel of Love’ at Wembley in 1985.
Vocalist Debbie Harry is the image and and guitarist Chris Stein is the sound of Blondie . Stein was born in Brooklyn, to Jewish parents. The piece above is called ‘No Exit’ in a live acoustic version.
Born in California in a Jewish family Susanna Hoffs was a guitarist in the all-female band The Bangles, one of the successfull bands in the 80s. Here is one of the great hits of the band – ‘Walk Like An Egyptian’
I hope that you enjoyed this review of Jews who Rock. There are, of course, many more. I did not include – on purpose – the Israeli rock bands. I have written and maybe I will write about them in other postings.